Do you consider yourself to be a good listener? Could you recognise when someone is in need? Samaritans is challenging people across Britain and Ireland to become better listeners during its annual Talk To Us campaign.

Throughout July, the charity will be sharing expert tips on how to be a better listener, while its branches will hold community events to raise awareness of the services on offer. To discover what’s happening in your local area, find your local branch by clicking here.

What is the Talk to Us campaign?

The main message is that Samaritans volunteers are available to listen to anyone who’s struggling to cope, at any time of the day or night. However, the charity is also encouraging people to become better listeners.

From a virtual chat to a picnic in a park, Talk to Us is just one of the ways that the charity promotes its activities. You can get involved on social media on July 24 by pledging to become a better listener.

By becoming a better listener, you can support loved ones who might be struggling to cope. It can also improve relationships with your family, friends and work colleagues. For example, making small changes to the way you listen could help your loved ones to open up about how they’re feeling.

How to become a better listener?

 The Talk to Us campaign is the time to make a pledge, such as listening without being distracted. Try establishing eye contact, turning your mobile phone off and giving the other person your full attention. When talking to someone on the phone, remember to try and find a quiet space.

While pauses in a conversation are normal, don’t feel the need to fill the silence. Try not to put your own interpretation on what the other person is saying, and repeat some of the words they say so they feel that you are listening.

When was the last time you spoke with a lonely friend or relative? Add a reminder on your phone to check in with them at least once a week. Don’t lose heart as it can take several attempts before they feel comfortable enough to open up about their feelings.

Who are the Samaritans?

 Whatever you’re facing, a Samaritan will face it with you. The charity responds to a call for help every 10 seconds. Trained volunteers are available day or night, for anyone who is struggling to cope and needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure.

Samaritans is not only for times of crisis, but also takes action to prevent a crisis by helping people to find ways to cope. The charity encourages, promotes and celebrates those moments of connection between people that can save lives.

Whether it is in prisons, schools, hospitals or on the railway network, Samaritans will always support people who are finding life tough. Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy, and Samaritans’ vision is that fewer people die by suicide.

Here are some statistics from 2021:

  • 22,000 people volunteered for Samaritans
  • Almost 20,000 trained listening volunteers responded to calls for help
  • Around 2,500 volunteers supported the running of more than 200 branches and locations across the UK and Ireland
  • More than 1,300 people in prison volunteered as trained listeners.

To find out more about Samaritans and its volunteers, please click here.

Do you need help?

Whatever you’re going through, you can call Samaritans free any time, from any phone, on 116 123.